Three Australian teams progress in Airbus’s Fly Your Ideas student competition

Members of RMIT at the Avalon Airshow. (Airbus)
Members of RMIT University’s Airbus Fly Your Ideas teams at the Avalon Airshow. (Airbus)

Three teams from Melbourne’s RMIT University attended the Australian International Airshow at Avalon as part of their efforts to win Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas Student competition.

The RMIT representatives are the only Australian teams among the 50 picked for Round 2 from the original 356 entrants from 89 countries.

RMIT School of Engineering’s Dr Graham Dorrington, who is supervising two of the teams, said the university encouraged its staff and students to be involved in Fly Your Ideas.

“It’s important that we have flexibility in the curriculum to encourage student involvement in international competitions,” Dr Dorrington said in a statement.

“This competition is a valuable opportunity for students to brush up on their team-work skills while they work to tight deadlines and communicate their ideas to a broader audience.”

The global competition was granted UNESCO patronage in 2012, and offers students an opportunity to work with a team of aviation professionals on real-world challenges, going beyond the aircraft itself. The competition is open to students of all nationalities and all disciplines – from engineering to marketing; science to design.

“We are offering students the rare opportunity to interact directly with senior specialists from across the business,” Airbus executive vice-president for engineering Charles Champion said in a statement.

“In turn, these experts will benefit from their direct interaction with talents from across the globe, all sharing the same passion for this exciting industry.”

The three RMIT teams – Aquarius, FEAT and Thrust – along with the remaining 47 entrants had 100 days to further refine and develop their ideas.

The top five teams from this round will progress to Round 3, where they will spend at week at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse to prototype, test and visualise their ideas under guidance from Airbus experts.

The winners, to be announced in May, will receive a 30,000 euro first prize, with the runner up team receiving 15,000 euros.

The FEAT (flexible and extendable aerobridge technology) team, which includes representatives from RMIT and Delft University in the Netherlands, was investigating the use of aerobridges for the rear door of the aircraft to ease congestion and quicken turnaround times for airlines.

“Our rear aerobridge concept enables access to a rear door of the aircraft that will significantly reduce the turnaround time for short- and medium-haul flights,” a member of the team, RMIT aerospace engineering student Laila Sezin, said in a statement.

Sezin said the ultimate aim was to implement the concept at Melbourne Tullamarine airport.

Meanwhile, team Thrust was looking at “revolutionising overhead baggage lockers” and Aquarius proposed utilising existing Airbus assets for aerial fire fighting with “minimal and/or no change” in the airframe OEM design.

Follow the competition on the Airbus Fly Your Ideas website.

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